Updated August 2016.
Going to your first Oktoberfest? Before diving deep into barrel upon barrel of sweet delicious beer there are a few things you should know.
Not able to make it Munich? No worries. Due to its worldwide popularity, it’s likely to find an Oktoberfest within a radius of 100 miles.
Still, you’ll find below survival tips and how to make the most of out the experience. Even if you’re not an Oktoberfest newbie.
1. Different tents have different vibes
With fourteen big tents, there’s plenty of choice. For a more traditional feel, head to the Augustiner tent. Friendly and relaxed, it’s also home to Munich’s most popular brew.
The Hacker Pschorr and the Hippodrom tents attract a younger crowd. So prepare to sing yourself hoarse to John Denver’s ‘Take Me Home, Country Roads’ and Robbie Williams’ ‘Angels’.
Alternatively, just wander about and see…
A. What tickles your fancy.
B. Where you can get in with the shortest wait!
2. Take with you as little as possible
The less you have on you, the less you’ll have to worry about. It can be a major hassle forever checking your bag full of valuables you’ve got stashed under a bench.
You only need the essentials: cash and the address of where you’re staying.
3. If you get a spot in a tent, hold on to it
The tents get incredibly busy, especially on the weekends. Don’t worry about squeezing up next to a group of randomers. With a stein in hand, it won’t be long before you’re swaying alongside each other to the oom-pah music.
4. Learn the Prosit song:
“Ein Prosit, ein Prosit der Gemütlichkeit, ein Prosit, ein Pro-o-sit der Gemütlichkeit. Oans, zwoa, drei, g’suffa!”
Make sure to look your fellow Prost-er in the eye as you chink the bottom of your glass. The consequences? You’ll be “cursed” with 7 years of bad sex!
5. Don’t underestimate Oktoberfest beer
After a couple of Maß (pronounced Mass), of beer with a 6% alcohol content, you’ll be well on your way to a more than tipsy state.
Pace yourself, you don’t want to end up among the Bierleichen, literally “beer corpses”. The Wiesn-goers who indulge perhaps one too many and pass out by 4pm. Many of whom find themselves part of the “art project”München Kotzt.
6. Maß glasses aren’t indestructible
It’s undeniable that clinking a huge and hardy beer glass isn’t great fun. But try to fight the urge to smash it with full force – no one enjoys a beer full of broken glass.
Tip: There’s a natural tendency to grip it by the handle, but rest it on the part between your index finger and thumb and you’ll save your arm a whole lot of ache.
7. Get involved!
Attending Oktoberfest in full traditional Tracht is an experience unlike any other. For guys, that’s a pair of Lederhosen leather shorts with braces and a flap cap.
For girls, there are Dirndls – dresses with a tight bodice and high-waisted skirt made to “accentuate the female form”. A full outfit can get pricey. So if you’re not willing to commit at least a hundred Euros, try some of the secondhand stores.
It will also go down much better with the locals than a plastic set bought from Amazon.
Take note: A bow on the left of the apron signifies the wearer is available. The right means they’re taken and the centre marks a virgin (or often just a confused foreigner).
8. Tip the barmaids
For the first year ever a Maβ could cost you €10+. In fact, the price has gone up 500% in the last 40 years! (Check out our infographic for more bits of Oktoberfest info and trivia.)
It’s the done thing to round up. A happy barmaid = quicker service.
9. Remember to eat
A Hendl (roast chicken) or Schweinshaxe (pork knuckles) are all part of the experience, as well as providing some much-needed stomach lining.
Yet food can get quite expensive inside the tents. Instead, pop outside to one of the hundreds of food stalls for a more affordable snack.
10. Rollercoasters and rides aren’t just for kids
Flying through the cool night air feels like the greatest thing after a Maβ or two. But it definitely becomes riskier as you get deeper into the afternoon.
11. Go explore Munich, beyond the beer
Swim in (or surf) the Eisbach river in Englischer Garten, have a BBQ at Flaucher or wander around the food stalls at Viktualienmarkt. And remember, Munich is more than just a beer festival (although drinking can, of course, be easily incorporated into all of the above).
Content updated: August 2016